Thursday, January 10, 2008

Network Solutions Domain Tasting

The blogs and media are abuzz; Network Solutions (NSI) appears to be snatching up domain names. If as described, this is a sort of domain "tasting," letting a registrar have access to a domain without paying for it, for a short period of time. For a multitude of reasons, domain tasting is lame.

I've tested it myself and confirmed that they're doing this. On January 8th, I looked up a non-existing domain on Network Solutions website: nuclearnugget.com. (I picked a name not likely to be registered.) I never bought (registered) the domain. The NSI website said it was not in use, and available for purchase.

I check WHOIS today, and find that the domain is now registered! What?!

Domain Name: NUCLEARNUGGET.COM
Registrar: NETWORK SOLUTIONS, LLC.
Whois Server: whois.networksolutions.com
Referral URL: http://www.networksolutions.com
Name Server: NS1.RESERVEDDOMAINNAME.COM
Name Server: NS2.RESERVEDDOMAINNAME.COM
Status: ok
Updated Date: 08-jan-2008
Creation Date: 08-jan-2008
Expiration Date: 08-jan-2009

The expiration date is set for a year. Let's hope that's not the case; we'll see when it actually expires.

This sucks. It looks like a bad faith effort on NSI's part to force you into buying a domain name through them, if you happen to look it up through them. Let's say my friend found an unused domain via NSI's website, and wanted me to purchase it. I could only purchase it with NSI as the registrar. I couldn't go to Joker.com, GoDaddy, or anybody else I wanted to. NSI has a poor reputation among many geeks for overcharging for domain registrations and trying to sell you extra services; I'd never in my right mind choose to register a domain with them. But if I want nuclearnugget.com? I have no other choice. I either have to buy it from them, or wait and hope it expires, and doesn't get snapped up by a domain speculator. If I went to some other registrar, like GoDaddy, and tried to register the domain, it would not show up as available, as it looks as though it's owned by NSI.

Below is the full registration information that showed up in WHOIS.

Registrant:
This Domain is available at NetworkSolutions.com
13681 Sunrise Valley Drive, Suite 300
HERNDON, VA 20171
US

Domain Name: NUCLEARNUGGET.COM

------------------------------------------------------------------------
This Domain is Available - Register it Now!
600,000 domain names are registered daily! Don't delay; there's no guarantee
that a domain name you see today will still be here tomorrow!
Register it Now at www.NetworkSolutions.com.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Administrative Contact, Technical Contact:
Network Solutions, LLC domainsupport@networksolutions.com
13681 Sunrise Valley Drive, Suite 300
HERNDON, VA 20171
US
1-888-642-9675 fax: 571-434-4620

Record expires on 08-Jan-2009.
Record created on 08-Jan-2008.
Database last updated on 10-Jan-2008 12:44:08 EST.

Domain servers in listed order:

ns1.reserveddomainname.com 205.178.190.55
ns2.reserveddomainname.com 205.178.189.55

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